Building Monsters for Fun and Profit

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Gamemastery Guide for Pathfinder 2nd Edition is still several months away, but we knew there were a few parts of it we wanted to get in your hands sooner, and make more easily available. That’s why you can download the rules for making creatures and hazards right now! These are the Building Creatures and Building Hazards sections from chapter 2 of the Gamemastery Guide. The book isn’t quite final, so you might see a few changes to what’s in here in the published version.

A stitched-together monstrosity with the head of a cyclops, insectoid wings, and the arms and legs of a giant ape and some sort of crab-like creature.

As we’ve noted on some of our livestreams, the system for creating your own monsters and NPCs uses a top down system with benchmarks, allowing you to build a creature to match your top-level vision of that creature instead of requiring you to build them from the bottom up like a player character. This guide has all the relevant numbers for creating these creatures, as well as lessons on what you can do to make your monsters the best they can be. The numbers are a starting place, and your creativity really brings the monster to life. The hazard rules give you everything you need to create traps, environmental hazards, and haunts to menace your party.

You can find the downloads right here. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Logan Bonner
Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Gamemastery Guide Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Silver Crusade

Huzzah!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

So glad to have this in hand. A lot of info to go through from my quick glance. Thanks guys!

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Woot! Thanks Logan, Jason and Mark! Keep up the great work <3


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Much appreciated!


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

For those who have trouble finding this, it landed in my "Paizo Inc: Community Use" section. not the Rulebooks section

Reiterated plea:
Can the website team give us some way to hide things in our Digital Assets page? More than just he little arrow flip. Like move them into an archive where they don't show up until we go looking for them?


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Huzzah! This will make 1e -> 2e AP conversion sooooo much easier. Guess I'll be spending tonight throwing some stat blocks together! :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sweeeeeet

Paizo Employee PR Manager

5 people marked this as a favorite.
CrystalSeas wrote:
For those who have trouble finding this, it landed in my "Paizo Inc: Community Use" section. not the Rulebooks section

Yes. We are generally keeping the free downloads there.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Aaron Shanks wrote:
We are generally keeping the free downloads there.

Well, I've also got free downloads in the "Paizo Inc.: Free Resources" section and other free downloads in the "Paizo Inc.: Other" section.

And free downloads in the "Paizo Inc: Modules" section, and in the "Paizo Inc: Standalone Adventures" section.

So it's not obvious that it would be in the "Community Use" section.

And honestly? I looked first in the "Paizo Inc: Playtest" section thinking it might be a free playtesting download.

Liberty's Edge

9 people marked this as a favorite.

This looks very solid, as guidelines go. In almost all regards it keeps monsters within the 'PC range' on things they should be within that range on, which works out rather nicely (it matches well with my analysis here, for example with only Extreme Skills exceeding PC Skill modifiers by more than a point or so).

My only real complaint is that, absent some sort of magic, special thing, or 'template' in PF1 terms NPCs of PC Ancestries should never have High or Extreme Ability Scores. PCs max out at 'Moderate' by that table, which is fine taken in isolation, but makes for issues if random Human enemy #6 is somehow vastly better than that.

That's something I really wish Paizo had put in the guidelines, and even more hope they apply to such enemies going forward. It's mechanically almost irrelevant (raw stat numbers almost never actually come up), but vitally important flavor-wise to not make the PCs feel incompetent in terms of raw stats.

It would be really good if they added some guidelines like this to the NPC section and adjusted the Class Roadmaps as appropriate. Otherwise, going by the guidelines, all NPC Bards built as monsters have Cha +7 at 10th level when PCs can't achieve that until 20th, which feels really bad and unfair in a way that the rest of these rules don't.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

No Offense, does it matter where it sits in the website/downloads section?

The link is in the blog and easy-peasy to find.

Silver Crusade

11 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I just organize my downloads by Newest so that removes needing to search on my part.


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

Awesome, thank you!


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Rysky wrote:
I just organize my downloads by Newest so that removes needing to search on my part.

Learned two new things in 30 minutes!

(blog link directly to download; recent sort)

Thanks!

I really hate my Digital Content page.


Deadmanwalking wrote:

This looks very solid, as guidelines go. In almost all regards it keeps monsters within the 'PC range' on things they should be within that range on, which works out rather nicely (it matches well with my analysis here, for example with only Extreme Skills exceeding PC Skill modifiers by more than a point or so).

My only real complaint is that, absent some sort of magic, special thing, or 'template' in PF1 terms NPCs of PC Ancestries should never have High or Extreme Ability Scores. PCs max out at 'Moderate' by that table, which is fine taken in isolation, but makes for issues if random Human enemy #6 is somehow vastly better than that.

That's something I really wish Paizo had put in the guidelines, and even more hope they apply to such enemies going forward. It's mechanically almost irrelevant (raw stat numbers almost never actually come up), but vitally important flavor-wise to not make the PCs feel incompetent in terms of raw stats.

It would be really good if they added some guidelines like this to the NPC section and adjusted the Class Roadmaps as appropriate. Otherwise, going by the guidelines, all NPC Bards built as monsters have Cha +7 at 10th level when PCs can't achieve that until 20th, which feels really bad and unfair in a way that the rest of these rules don't.

I think one thing is those stats are likely adding in bonuses similar to what players get via gear. At level 10 you probably have items giving you a +2 for a lot of your performance/bard type abilities.


OH THANK GOD. I've been needing this

Paizo Employee Designer

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Deadmanwalking wrote:

This looks very solid, as guidelines go. In almost all regards it keeps monsters within the 'PC range' on things they should be within that range on, which works out rather nicely (it matches well with my analysis here, for example with only Extreme Skills exceeding PC Skill modifiers by more than a point or so).

My only real complaint is that, absent some sort of magic, special thing, or 'template' in PF1 terms NPCs of PC Ancestries should never have High or Extreme Ability Scores. PCs max out at 'Moderate' by that table, which is fine taken in isolation, but makes for issues if random Human enemy #6 is somehow vastly better than that.

That's something I really wish Paizo had put in the guidelines, and even more hope they apply to such enemies going forward. It's mechanically almost irrelevant (raw stat numbers almost never actually come up), but vitally important flavor-wise to not make the PCs feel incompetent in terms of raw stats.

It would be really good if they added some guidelines like this to the NPC section and adjusted the Class Roadmaps as appropriate. Otherwise, going by the guidelines, all NPC Bards built as monsters have Cha +7 at 10th level when PCs can't achieve that until 20th, which feels really bad and unfair in a way that the rest of these rules don't.

We tend to do so for published NPCs, like for instance the GMG NPCs work that way, but it's a level of techiness we felt isn't necessary for a home GM to have to worry about for an NPC they are building.

Liberty's Edge

5 people marked this as a favorite.
kaid wrote:
I think one thing is those stats are likely adding in bonuses similar to what players get via gear. At level 10 you probably have items giving you a +2 for a lot of your performance/bard type abilities.

They are not. Skill bonuses and Attack bonuses are utterly independent from Ability mods on monsters/NPCs. As are damage, Perception, AC, Saves, and everything else. And all of those things do in fact have bonuses consistent with a PC plus items, something I am not objecting to.

The only thing Ability Scores actually determine is stuff like how long you hold your breath and untrained Skill checks. And PCs basically never have items giving bonuses to those things.

Mark Seifter wrote:
We tend to do so for published NPCs, like for instance the GMG NPCs work that way, but it's a level of techiness we felt isn't necessary for a home GM to have to worry about for an NPC they are building.

That's wonderful, and I'm very pleased to hear it. :)

I think a quick note that this is normal among NPCs wouldn't be too 'tech-y', though. Or at least not advising high Abilities in the Class Roadmaps section.

Still, if that's the way official NPCs are gonna mostly be made, I'm vastly less concerned about the issue.

Paizo Employee Designer

13 people marked this as a favorite.
Jib916 wrote:
Woot! Thanks Logan, Jason and Mark! Keep up the great work <3

Mentioned this on the product thread, but we on the design team love you all and really appreciate your passion for building fun stories with Pathfinder, and we wanted to make sure to get this to you as early as possible and for free! Please also thank the amazing editors and the magically-fast-at-layout Sonja for how quickly they were able to help us get this to you!


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Very nice. Thanks!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Thanks for making this available!

Grand Lodge

This book is _fantastic_! Thank you. Is this part of the main line?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

6 people marked this as a favorite.

This is a non-final excerpt from the forthcoming Gamemastery Guide in the main rulebook line.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

Much needed and appreciated! Especially for 3pp authors.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Thank you so much! Amazing & invaluable tool and awesome to give this away! Now we just need someone to make a web app!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

On a tangentially-related note that I don't know if anyone at Paizo is able to answer, is the GMG still scheduled for January or has it been definitely pushed back to February?

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, Mark, Logan and Sonja; you rock! I really appreciate this preview <3


The picture link (to see the full-size version) doesn't work.


I LOVE YOU FOR THIS !!!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Ah, I can finally get to converting my ongoing Hell's Rebels and Strange Aeons games. Perrrrfect!


This is great! I'm planning (well, more hoping really, given the lack of free time I have right now) to run Carrion Crown as a PF2 game so this will save me masses of time with the conversion.

Thank you to all who brought this to the website so speedily!


It looks very good from what I have seen so far. Super useful

I hope someone can make an excel monster creation sheet whee you can add the the level and then pick from drop down boxes for all the other areas to give the guidance (and then boxes to allow for tailoring final output)

I don’t think my excel skills are up to it !

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thank you thank you thank you! You folks have made my [GMing] life so much easier!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is great!
I have one question though - in TABLE 2–11: SPELL DC AND SPELL ATTACK ROLL, the spell DCs = corresponding spell attack roll + 8.
For PCs (AFAIK), spell DCs = spell attack roll + 10. (Core rulebook, pf 298)
Is this intentional?
Thanks!


Friggin' finally!!

This is a godsend, guys - like many others I have APs to convert and with this I can finally get started for real.

Thank you Mark, Jason, Logan, Sonja, and the editors - thanks to everyone who made this happen! Love you guys!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Wow. I love all the great advice! I’m also glad to see that not only is a mention of PC-style NPCs included, but there’s also great advice and shortcuts included, including some good default options for feats.


Varus Wreckpoint wrote:

This is great!

I have one question though - in TABLE 2–11: SPELL DC AND SPELL ATTACK ROLL, the spell DCs = corresponding spell attack roll + 8.
For PCs (AFAIK), spell DCs = spell attack roll + 10. (Core rulebook, pf 298)
Is this intentional?
Thanks!

I think that this is a error (probably a misspeling). Look at the Demilich (level 15 creature) has an extreme DC (40) and a atk roll of +30


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

The more I look at this the more ultra useful it becomes. Thank you again for putting it out and early!


I'm glad this has come out early, I can start working on a few monsters for a one shot I have planned soon. Since coming from 5E it's going to be a learning curve when creating a monster in 2E.


Dante Doom wrote:
Varus Wreckpoint wrote:

This is great!

I have one question though - in TABLE 2–11: SPELL DC AND SPELL ATTACK ROLL, the spell DCs = corresponding spell attack roll + 8.
For PCs (AFAIK), spell DCs = spell attack roll + 10. (Core rulebook, pf 298)
Is this intentional?
Thanks!
I think that this is a error (probably a misspeling). Look at the Demilich (level 15 creature) has an extreme DC (40) and a atk roll of +30

Great, thought I missed something. Looks like it's the attack rolls that are 2 too high, 40 being the proper DC for a lvl 15 extreme Spellcaster.

Thanks.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
UnArcaneElection wrote:

The picture link (to see the full-size version) doesn't work.

Fixed. Thanks!

Paizo Employee Designer

2 people marked this as a favorite.

It is intentional that monsters might have a slightly better spell attack bonus than their spell DCs would imply if derived solely from there. Attack bonuses can sometimes have more components going into them than spell DCs do. That said, we like matching them up on in-house where it makes sense.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

On page 16:

Quote:

Constant and Automatic Damage

Much like reactions, damage for any constant ability should be pretty low. Usually this value is just below low Strike damage. Automatic abilities like the living wildfire’s tend to deal moderate Strike damage or unlimited area damage, and can deal more than that if they only happen after the creature is dead or otherwise no longer presents a threat.

I know the third sentence is alluding to unlimited use area damage abilities, but that's not how it read my first go. :P


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I made a variant goblin (a feral Gnasher, based on the barbarian archetype in 1es advanced race guide) and it was very quick and easy using this guide, so good job!

Paizo Employee Designer

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Tender Tendrils wrote:
I made a variant goblin (a feral Gnasher, based on the barbarian archetype in 1es advanced race guide) and it was very quick and easy using this guide, so good job!

Awesome! Hey, want to share it on the homebrew subforum? I'm guessing with the rules of monster creation being easier than ever that the homebrew subforum is going to become an amazing resource of cool monsters you guys cook up!


Finally, I can compare with the dragon stats in B1 and make my preferred vision of PF2 true dragons (Hint: movie-Smaug-esque shaped Western fire breather with no cold weakness, and an equally potent classic Eastern one with a lighning breath) come true. And I can take my time to have the suggested top-down design to match up with my preferred bottom up method to make mechanics match the fiction...

Mark Seifter wrote:
(...) That said, we like matching them up on in-house where it makes sense.

This should be good, anytime...

Sovereign Court

Thank you so much for this Paizo!

I found an error on Page 2, near the bottom of the page:

"Others incorporate all-new creatures and places devised by the GM, with strange themes [which] don’t fit in the standard Pathfinder game or world."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Tender Tendrils wrote:
I made a variant goblin (a feral Gnasher, based on the barbarian archetype in 1es advanced race guide) and it was very quick and easy using this guide, so good job!
Awesome! Hey, want to share it on the homebrew subforum? I'm guessing with the rules of monster creation being easier than ever that the homebrew subforum is going to become an amazing resource of cool monsters you guys cook up!

Thats a great idea!


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I was so inspired by this I created a tool that basically turns all of the monster creation tables into a bunch of drop down menus, and then creates a plain text and HTML output of your creation.

Thread for it is here.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Mark, Logan, and Jason,

Thanks for doing this and releasing it ahead of the book. I don’t say this as a freelancer, but as a GM. I’m running Age of Ashes in a few weeks and while I don’t need these rules, I feel better having these tools available. In case I want to customize something.

Well done and thank you again.

Jim

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